Later Gator found permanent home in eastern Adelaide
The founder of the vegan food truck Later Gator, Chloe Mattner, is preparing to launch The Gator Club, serving vegan and gluten-free products made famous by her traveling coffee van.
Since the launch of Later Gator in December last year, Chloe Mattner has had her hands full with the popularity of the mobile cafe. She takes it to markets in Adelaide and serves locals in the usual spot in Kensington Reserve.
When CityMag spoke to her in January, she revealed her plans to one day turn the company into a permanent store in eastern Adelaide. Now her dream is coming true, with the opening of her first brick-and-mortar store, The Gator Club, in College Park in August of this year.
Focusing on bringing delicious vegan and gluten-free food to the masses might be considered to niche. Still, the public response has been overwhelmingly positive from vegans, celiacs, and non-diet foodies alike.
Combining her two businesses – Later Gator and her online bakery Chlo’s Vegan Club – is the main idea behind The Gator Club, which will begin as a hub for both its baked goods and its upcoming range of matcha, chai, and hot chocolate blends, before being launched later as a cafe.
One of the reasons the search for a store became so urgent was the company’s growing expansion.
“I’ve run out of space in my kitchen — I have a kitchen in my garage that I’ve converted and reached capacity — so Gator Club is going to be a perfect combination of both companies,” says Chloe.
“Mostly, it means people don’t have to come to my house to pick up cakes and pastries; they will all be in the store.”
Finding the right place to set up shop was more challenging than Chloe initially anticipated, with businesses either too big or too small. However, her childhood dream of owning a corner cafe in a converted deli has all but come true now that she has signed a lease for a small former corner shop in College Park.
A former architecture student, Chloe will play a key role in creating the store’s layout and design.
“Unfortunately, it has never been a cafe, so it will have to be completely furnished, and it’s all going through the council at the moment,” she says.
“But it also means I can figure everything out from scratch – I have to talk to all my previous uni friends and brainstorm about everything. It’s cool that I can finally use that part of my studies.”
On the menu are her classic Later Gator offerings of cookies, brownies, sweet rolls, croissants, and a toasted sandwich bar, all gluten-free and vegan. Her kitchen space means that everything served there is cross-contamination free and celiac-friendly.
After putting her savings into Later Gator (originally intended to fund a two-year trip to Europe before COVID hit), all of the money coming in through the company has gone into helping set up a brick-and-mortar store.
Working in so many markets has also resulted in Chloe developing strong friendships with other local small businesses, and she hopes to set up a craft retail space in her shop to provide them with space to sell their wares.
“Some people only sell in markets and don’t have the money or the ability to wholesale or set up their stores, so I’m going to take that opportunity for them,” she says.
“I can display all my market friends’ stuff – not like a gift shop, but somewhere people can buy Adelaide goods.”
As for baking and selling only vegan and gluten-free foods, Chloe isn’t concerned about targeting just one specific plant-based audience.
“My partner and I have been vegan for seven years; we don’t go to big protests. It’s just what we eat,” she says.
“I just want a nice cafe, a nice place where people can come and enjoy really good coffee and food, and nobody gets turned away.”
You can check out Later Gator and Chlo’s Vegan Club on their websites.